What do you think of when you think of a new beginning? Christmas has new beginnings written all over it. I think it’s why I am already thinking of what I want my 2020 to look like. I am such a goal oriented person that I love setting goals for my year! I don’t really think of them as resolutions, though that’s what I usually call them. My goals are chances for God to work in my life.
I don’t always finish every goal I set, but I don’t look at incomplete ones as failures. If I commit to read the Bible through in a year, but I only make it to Hebrews, I still read more than if I hadn’t tried at all. Anything I do towards a goal is more than I would have done if I hadn’t made the goal in the first place.
Invite God to Direct You
Change is hard. I hate change and I crave it. I want to be comfortable but when I’m comfortable, I’m not letting God use and grow me. If I’m going to go through the pain of letting go of comfortable things in pursuit of change, I want to know that I have God’s help. The goals you have in mind might not seem spiritual in nature, but why not give them to God anyway and ask for help?
I might be focused on eating healthier, but when I begin to pray over my goals, feel that God wants me to focus elsewhere. It doesn’t mean that eating healthy isn’t good, and even something that God wants to be a part of my year. It might meant that he just has a different top priority for me. I always begin with prayer that God will help me discern his will and direction for me.
Measure goals against God’s Word
Think about the reasons you want to set a certain goal. Are they reasons that honor God? What are factors that you need to consider? A goal that takes away a lot of time that you would normally spend with your family, might not be what God wants. Still, if you prayerfully consider a goal that takes that time, God might ask you to change a different area of your life to make it work for your family. Above all, God is not going to lay a desire on your heart that goes against his Word.
It might be useful to choose a verse that supports your goal. If you want to memorize more Scripture, choose a verse that talks about the value of Scripture, you can learn it first and say it to encourage yourself when you want to quit. If you want to eat healthier, you might choose a verse like Psalm 139:13-14 that talks about the care God took when he first formed you. Have these concrete things ready to refer to on the hard days.
The New Year is a great time to make a new beginning. but if you are derailed, take another new beginning. God is a God of grace. If it takes 40 tries and 40 failures before you are able to get up and have your quiet time in the morning, praise God for the 41st success and go from there! He laid these things on your heart for a reason, he may change them in some ways, but don’t give up, start again.
Choose measurable and attainable goals
Try to avoid vague goals such as ‘I want to read the Bible more.’ Instead, choose a goal like ‘I’d like to read the Bible through in a year.’ That’s a measurable goal, you will know whether you reached your goal or not.
Know yourself, if you struggled to memorize any Scripture this year, it might not be the best ideas to set your goal at learning three verses a week for 2020. That is an unlikely goal for you to be able to complete unless that is your only goal and you are willing to devote quite a bit of time to it. At the same time, be willing to allow God to change your goal in some way. If you feel like he wants you to bite off a bigger chunk, trust that he will enable you to do it.
I don’t want to see my goals for Bible study as separate from my goal to exercise more. I don’t want anything in my life that God didn’t put there. I do want to exercise more next year, I feel like it honors God to take good care of my body. If it is from him that I devote my time to this, I want to pray over how he wants me to go about it. I want to commit to obey just like I want to obey him in studying the Bible and in serving.
New Beginnings, Test the Water
I intentionally keep our commitments to a minimum at the holidays for lots of reasons. One advantage of this is that I still have the mental energy to pray over the coming year. I might try a new recipe or two that sounds good if we want to eat healthier, or pick a few verses I’d like to memorize. I’m not going to stress myself out over new goals this month, but I like to stick my toe in the water.
It’s a great chance to pull out my list of goals from last year. I am still working on some of them, some have changed into goals I didn’t expect to work towards. Some of my goals got set aside, either because I felt like God asked me to set them aside, or because I did, either out of laziness or just busyness. I’ll pray over those to see if they go on this year’s list in a revised way or not.
I do know that at the end of next year, if I can only be healthy in one area of my life, I want to be spiritually healthy. So I’m going to take much more time to pray about how God wants me to grow spiritually over the next year. Next week I will be releasing my Spiritual Growth Assessment. This will be a tool for self evaluation of the different areas for spiritual growth in your life. It will be a great tool for you to use to spot opportunities for growth in your life. Leave a comment below and tell me about some of the goals you are praying over for next year!